Winifred Stewart Cleaver, beloved by all who knew her, died in the presence of her family at New London Hospital on June 4, 2012, one month shy of her 100th Birthday.
Winnie was born on July 5, 1912 in Haledon, New Jersey, the daughter of John Edward Stewart and Winifred Blackwell Stewart. Educated in local schools, she studied business in New York City and worked for several Wall Street firms, while taking the occasional modeling job. She married her high school sweetheart George Duncan Cleaver in 1936, a storybook marriage that was to last until his death sixty years later.
Winnie and George resided in Haledon where they were very active at St. Mary’s Church, including performing in plays and other theatricals as members of the St. Mary Players. Later they moved to Plainfield, New Jersey where they raised their two daughters. Winnie remained active in church affairs and with various civic and community organizations, including the Westfield Women’s Club. For many years she ran the Gift Shop at the local hospital and raised significant sums for its benefit. Blessed with a green thumb, she worked her magic in the garden and as a stalwart of the Garden Club, while teaching bonsai and other disciplines. A talented artist, she worked and instructed others in glass, watercolor and various other mediums.
Upon George’s death, she moved to Hartford, Connecticut to be closer to family and resided at Avery Heights Church Home for many years. She moved to Woodcrest Village, Main Street, New London in 2005, enthusiastically participating in all craft programs. A life long theater buff, Winnie was thrilled to be a part of the Barn Playhouse Family and never missed a performance. The Barn is dedicating its upcoming production of the musical Ragtime to her memory.
She is survived by her two daughters, Wynne DeMille and her husband Tom of New London and Susan Forgerson and her husband Roger of Altamonte Springs, Florida as well as four beloved grand children, Tom and his wife Andrea of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, John and his wife Carolyn of Medfield, Massachusetts, and Luke Forgerson and Anna Forgerson, both of Washington, D.C. She loved to visit with her six great grandchildren Emma, Sarah, Ethan, Alex, Cameron and Jason and chat with them about their many activities. Family was always first in her eyes.
Mrs. Cleaver was a member of the First Baptist Church of New London. A service was held on June 7th at Woodcrest Village. Burial will take place at Mt. Laurel Cemetery, Totowa, New Jersey.
Memorial contributions may be made to The First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 336 or to Woodcrest Village, 356 Main Street, both New London, NH 03257.